The Red Tent

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Overview

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons. Told in Dinah's voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood - the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers - Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah - the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that are to sustain her through a damaged youth, a calling ...
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Red Tent (10th Anniversary Edition)

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Overview

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons. Told in Dinah's voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood - the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers - Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah - the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that are to sustain her through a damaged youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate, immediate connection.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Few stories can evoke a time and place as vividly as Anita Diamant's compelling tale sprung from the pages of the Old Testament. The Red Tent is the story of Jacob's daughter, Dinah, and Jacob's four wives, who all served as Dinah's mother at some point in time. Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah all bring their own unique gifts and influences to bear on Dinah's life. As Diamant explores the trials and triumphs of ancient women, she brings a foreign yet beautiful world to life as seen through the emotional filter of Dinah's eyes. This lush, evocative tale transcends time and brings new life to the Old Testament, lending a feminine touch to the mighty word of God.
Philadelphia Inquirer
A novel well worth reading!...very rich and fulfilling.
Kirkus Reviews
Cubits beyond most Woman-of-the-Bible sagas in sweep and vigor, this fictive flight based on the Genesis mention of Dinah, offspring of Jacob and Leah, disclaims her as a mere "defiled" victim and, further, celebrates the ancient continuity and unity of women. Dinah was the cherished only daughter of "four mothers," all of whom bore sons by Jacob. It is through daughters, though, that the songs, stories, and wisdom of the mothers and grandmothers are remembered. Dinah tells the mothers' tales from the time that that shaggy stranger Jacob appears in the land of his distant kin Laban. There are Jacob's marriages to the beautiful Rachel and the competent Leah, "reeking of bread and comfort." Also bedded are Zilpah, a goddess worshipper who has little use for men, and tiny, dark, and silent Bilhah. Hard-working Jacob is considerate to the equally hard-working women, who, in the "red tent"—where they're sequestered at times of monthly cycles, birthing, and illness—take comfort and courage from one another and household gods. The trek to Canaan, after Jacob outwits Laban, offers Dinah wonders, from that "time out of life" when the traveling men and women laugh and sing together, on to Dinah's first scent of a great river, "heady as incense, heavy and dark." She observes the odd reunion of Jacob and Esau, meets her cruel and proud grandmother, and celebrates the women's rite of maturity. She also loves passionately the handsome Prince Shalem, who expects to marry her. Dinah's tale then follows the biblical account as Jacob's sons trick and then slaughter a kingdom. Diamant's Dinah, mad with grief, flees to Egypt, gives birth to a son, suffers, and eventually finds love and peace. Withstirring scenery and a narrative of force and color, a readable tale marked by hortatory fulminations and voluptuous lamentations. For a liberal Bible audience with a possible spillover to the Bradley relationship.
From the Publisher
"The wives of Jacob gather in the red tent, and in that image Anita Diamant has found the heart of a pulsing and moving novel. The tent is red because of the falling sun, and because of the flowing blood. The tent is, as the narrator says, 'an earthbound rainbow,' which is also true of this novel. Dinah, famously a daughter and a sister, finally tells her own story-and the story of that unknown legion, God's women. When the light is refracted through their experience-and through the lens of Anita Diamant's moral imagination-the colors couldn't be more vivid, and the oldest story of all could never seem more original, or more true."—James Carroll, author of An American Requiem
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568951843
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Anita Diamant
Anita Diamant is a prize-winning journalist whose work has appeared regularly in the Boston Globe Magazine and Parenting magazine. She is the author of five books about contemporary Jewish practice: Choosing a Jewish Life, Bible Baby Names, The New Jewish Baby Book, The New Jewish Wedding, and Living a Jewish Life (with H. Cooper). She lives in West Newton, MA, with her husband and daughter, Emilia, to whom the book is dedicated.

Diamant says it was the relationship between Leah and Rachel that stimulated her thinking about The Red Tent. "The Biblical story that pits the two sisters against one another never sat right with me. The traditional view of Leah as the ugly and/or spiteful sister, and of Jacob as indifferent to her, seemed odd in light of the fact that the Bible gives them nine children together...As I re-read Genesis over the years, I settled on the story of Dinah, their daughter. The drama and her total silence (Dinah does not utter a single word in the Bible) cried out for explanation, and I decided to imagine one."

Aiding her work was "midrash," the ancient and still vital literary form, which means "search" or "investigation."

"Historically, the rabbis used this highly imaginative form of storytelling to make sense of the elliptical nature of the Bible-to explain, for example, why Cain killed Abel...The compressed stories and images in the Bible are rather like photographs. They don't tell us everything we want or need to know. Midrash is the story about what happened before and after the photographic flash."

She points out that "The Red Tent is not a translation but a work of fiction. Its perspective and focus-by and about the female characters-distinguishes it from the Biblical account in which women are usually peripheral and often totally silent. By giving Dinah a voice and by providing texture and content to the sketchy Biblical descriptions, my book is a radical departure from the historical text."

Biography

Anita Diamant is an award-winning journalist and the author of several bestselling novels (The Red Tent, Good Harbor, The Last Days of Dogtown, Day After Night), a collection of essays (Pitching My Tent, and six nonfiction guides to contemporary Jewish life.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Anita Diamont:

"Modern dance concerts inspire me like little else. I'm amazed at the creativity and the range of the human imagination in the human body. Along a similar vein, I tend to prefer contemporary art museums and galleries for the visual/mental kick-in-the-pants. I don't go in expecting to like everything I see; I'm just... looking!"

"I unwind by walking on the beach. Sky, sea, sand, rocks, birds -- the great noisy emptiness. Nothing like it."

"I'd rather be home, or close to home. Traveling around the US or abroad is fascinating, but I lack the bug or gene that inspired people to visit the four corners of the globe. I'm not uncurious, honest. Maybe I'll grow into it..."

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    1. Hometown:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 27, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      M.A. in English, SUNY, Binghamton, NY, 1975; B.A. in Comparative Literature, Washington Univ., St. Louis, MO, 1973.
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Their stories began with the day that my father appeared. Rachel came running into camp, knees flying, bellowing like a calf separated from its mother. But before anyone could scold her for acting like a wild boy, she launched into a breathless yarn about a stranger at the well, her words spilling out like water into sand.

Rachel stuck out her lower lip in a pout that would have been childlike only a few hours earlier. Something had happened since she opened her eyes that morning, when the most pressing matter on her mind had been to find the place where Leah hid her honey. Leah, that donkey, would never share it with her, but hoarded it for guests, giving tastes to pathetic little Bilhah and no one else.

All Rachel could think of now was the shaggy stranger whose eyes had met hers with a shock of recognition that had rattled her to the bone.

Rachel knew what Leah meant, but the fact that she had not yet begun to bleed meant nothing to her now. And her cheeks burned.

"What's this?" said Leah, suddenly amused. "She is smitten. Look at her," she said. "Have you ever seen the girl blush before?"

"What did he do to you?" asked Laban, growling like a dog who senses an intruder near his herd. He clenched his fists and beetled his brow and turned his full attention to Rachel, the daughter he had never once hit, the daughter whom he rarely looked at full in the face. She had frightened him from her birth-a tearing, violent entry that had killed her mother. When the baby finally emerged, the women were shocked to see that it was such a small one-a girl at that-who had caused so many days of trouble, costing her mother so much blood and finally her life.

Rachel's presence was powerful as the moon, and just as beautiful. Nobody could deny her beauty. Even as a child who worshiped my own mother's face, I knew that Leah's beauty paled before her younger sister's, a knowledge that always made me feel like a traitor. Still, denying it would have been like denying the sun's warmth.

Rachel's beauty was rare and arresting. Her brown hair shaded to bronze, and her skin was golden, honeyed, perfect. In that amber setting, her eyes were surprisingly dark, not merely dark brown but black as polished obsidian or the depth of a well. Although she was small-boned and, even when she was with child, small-breasted, she had muscular hands and a husky voice that seemed to belong to a much larger woman.

Leah's vision was perfect. According to one of the more ridiculous fables embroidered around my family's history, she ruined her eyes by crying a river of tears over the prospect of marrying my uncle Esau. If you believe that, you might also be interested in purchasing a magical toad that will make all who look upon you swoon with love.

My aunt Zilpah, Laban's second-born, said that she remembered everything that ever happened to her. She laid claim to memories of her own birth, and even of days in her mother's womb. She swore she could remember her mother's death in the red tent, where she sickened within days after Zilpah arrived in the world, feet first. Leah scoffed at these claims, though not to her sister's face, for Zilpah was the only one who could cause my mother to hold her tongue about anything.

From the age of her first blood, Zilpah thought of herself as a kind of priestess, the keeper of the mysteries of the red tent, the daughter of Asherah, the sister Siduri who counsels women. It was a foolish idea, as only priests served the goddesses of the great city temples, while the priestesses served gods. Besides, Zilpah had none of the oracle's gifts. She lacked the talent for herbs, and could not prophesy or conjure or read goat entrails. Leah's eight-seeded pomegranate was the only dream she ever interpreted correctly.

Zilpah was Laban's daughter by a slave named Mer-Nefat, who had been purchased from an Egyptian trader in the days when Laban still had means. According to Adah, Zilpah's mother was slender, raven-haired, and so quiet it was easy to forget she had the power of speech, a trait her daughter did not inherit.

Zilpah was only a few months younger than Leah, and after Zilpah's mother died, Adah gave them suck together. They were playmates as babies, close and loving friends as children, tending the flocks together, gathering berries, making up songs, laughing. Apart from Adah, they needed no one else in the world.

Zilpah was almost as tall as Leah, but thinner and less robust in the chest and legs. Dark-haired and olive-skinned, Leah and Zilpah resembled their father and shared the family nose, not unlike Jacob's-a regal hawk's beak that seemed to grow longer when they smiled. Leah and Zilpah both talked with their hands, thumb and forefinger pressed together in emphatic ovals. When the sun made them squint, identical lines appeared around the corners of their eyes.

But where Leah's hair was curly, Zilpah's black mane was straight, and she wore it to her waist. It was her best feature, and my aunt hated to cover it. Headdresses caused her head to pound, she said, putting a hand to her cheek with silly drama. Even as a child I was permitted to laugh at her. These headaches were the reason she gave for keeping so much inside the women's tents. She did not join the rest of us to bask in the springtime sun or find the breeze on a hot night. But when the moon was young-slender and shy, barely making herself known in the sky-Zilpah walked around the camp, swinging her long hair, clapping her hands, offering songs to encourage the moon's return.

When Jacob arrived, Bilhah was a child of eight, and she remembered nothing of the day. "She was probably up in a tree somewhere, sucking on her fingers and counting the clouds," said Leah, repeating the only thing that was remembered of Bilhah's early years.

Bilhah was the family orphan. The last daughter born of Laban's seed, she was the child of a slave named Tefnut-a tiny black woman who ran off one night when Bilhah was old enough to know she had been abandoned. "She never got over that hurt," said Zilpah with great gentleness, for Zilpah respected pain.

Bilhah was alone among them. It's not just that she was the youngest and that there were three other sisters to share the work. Bilhah was a sad child and it was easier to leave her alone. She rarely smiled and hardly spoke. Not even my grandmother Adah, who adored little girls and gathered motherless Zilpah to her inner circle and doted upon Rachel, could warm to this strange, lonely bird, who never grew taller than a boy of ten years, and whose skin was the color of dark amber.

Bilhah was not beautiful like Rachel, or capable like Leah, or quick like Zilpah. She was tiny, dark, and silent. Adah was exasperated by her hair, which was springy as moss and refused to obey her hands. Compared to the two other motherless girls, Bilhah was neglected dreadfully.

Left to herself, she climbed trees and seemed to dream. From her perch, she studied the world, the patterns in the sky, the habits of animals and birds. She came to know the flocks as individuals, giving each animal a secret name to match its personality. One evening, she came in from the fields and whispered to Adah that a black dwarf she-goat was ready to give birth to twins. It was nowhere near the season for goats to bear, and that particular animal had been barren for four seasons. Adah shook her head at Bilhah's nonsense and shooed her away.

Jacob arrived late in the afternoon in the week of a full moon, ate a simple meal of barley bread and olives, and fell into an exhausted sleep that lasted through most of the next day. Leah was mortified by the simplicity of the food they had offered him at first, so the next day she set out to produce a feast seen only at the great festivals.

"Like a post," I said.

"Like a cooking stone," said my mother.

"Like a goat turd," I said.

Jacob made a quick recovery and stayed on, week after week, until it seemed he had always been there. He took charge of the scrawny herds so Rachel no longer had to follow the animals, a job that had fallen to her in the absence of brothers.

My grandfather laid the blame for the state of his herds and his dwindling wealth upon the fact that all his sons had died at birth or in infancy, leaving him nothing but daughters. He gave no thought to his own sloth, believing that only a son would turn his luck around. He consulted the local priests, who told him to sacrifice his best rams and a bull so that the gods might give him a boy-child. He had lain with his wives and concubines in the fields, as an old midwife suggested, and all he had gotten for that effort was an itchy backside and bruises on his knees. By the time Jacob arrived, Laban had given up his hope of a son-or of any improvement in his life.

He expected nothing from Adah, who was past childbearing and sick. His other three women had died or run off, and he couldn't afford the few coins for a homely slave girl, much less the price of a new bride. So he slept alone, except for the nights he found his way up the hills to bother the flocks, like some horny little boy. Rachel said that among the shepherds, my grandfather's lust was legendary. "The ewes run like gazelles when Laban walks up the hill," they hooted.

His daughters despised him for a hundred reasons, and I knew them all. Zilpah told me that when she was a few months away from her first blood and the task fell to her of taking my grandfather his midday meal, he reached up and put his thumb and forefinger around her nipple, squeezing it as though she were a she-goat.

Leah, too, said Laban had put his hand under her robes, but when she told Adah, my grandmother had beaten Laban with a pestle until he bled. She broke the horns off his favorite household god, and when she threatened to curse him with boils and impotence, he swore never to touch his daughters again and made restitution. He bought gold bangles for Adah and all of his daughters-even Zilpah and Bilhah, which was the only time he acknowledged them as kin. And he brought home a beautiful asherah—a tall pillar, nearly as big as Bilhah—made by the finest potter he could find. The women placed her up on the bamah, the high place, where sacrifices were offered. The goddess's face was especially lovely, with almond eyes and an open smile. When we poured wine over her in the dark of each new moon, it seemed to us her mouth broadened even farther in pleasure.

It was a year of change for my family. The flocks multiplied, and the grain flourished, and there was a marriage in the offing. For within a month of his arrival, Jacob asked Laban about Rachel's bride price, as she had said he would that very first day. Since it was clear that his nephew had no means or property, Laban thought he could get the man cheap, and made a magnanimous show of offering his daughter for a mere seven years' service.

Rachel yelled at Adah, who cuffed her and told her to take her temper elsewhere. Rachel, in turn, slapped Bilhah, cursed at Zilpah, and snarled at Leah. She even kicked dust at Jacob's feet, calling him a liar and a coward before bursting into pretty tears on his neck.

They sang:

"Whose fairness is like Anath's fairness

Whose beauty like Astarte's beauty?

"Astarte is now in your womb, You bear the power of Elath."

The women sang all the welcoming songs to her while Rachel ate date honey and fine wheat-flour cake, made in the three-cornered shape of woman's sex. She drank as much sweet wine as she could hold. Adah rubbed Rachel's arms and legs, back and abdomen with aromatic oils until she was nearly asleep. By the time they carried her out into the field where she married the earth, Rachel was stupid with pleasure and wine. She did not remember how her legs came to be caked with earth and crusted with blood and smiled in her sleep.

She was full of joy and anticipation, lazing in the tent for the three days, collecting the precious fluid in a bronze bowl-for the first-moon blood of a virgin was a powerful libation for the garden. During those hours, she was more relaxed and generous than anyone could remember her.

As soon as the women rose from their monthly rites, Rachel demanded that the wedding date be set. None of her foot-stamping could move Adah to change the custom of waiting seven months from first blood. So it was arranged, and although Jacob had already worked a year for Laban, the contract was sealed and the next seven months were Laban's too.

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Reading Group Guide

The Red Tent tells the little-known Biblical story of Dinah, daughter of the patriarch Jacob and his wife, Leah. In Chapter 34 of the Book of Genesis, Dinah's tale is a short, horrific detour in the familiar narrative of Jacob and Joseph.

Anita Diamant imaginatively tells the story from the fresh perspective of its women. In the Biblical tale Dinah is given no voice; she is the narrator of The Red Tent, which reveals the life of ancient womanhood-the world of the red tent.

Readers of The Red Tent will view the Book of Genesis in a new light. This guide can help spur creative discussions of the timeless story.

Discussion Questions:
1. Read Genesis 34 and discuss how The Red Tent changes your perspective on Dinah's story and also on the story of Joseph that follows. Does The Red Tent raise questions about other women in the Bible? Does it make you want to re-read the Bible and imagine other untold stories that lay hidden between the lines?

2. Discuss the marital dynamics of Jacob's family. He has four wives; compare his relationship with each woman?

3. What do you make of the relationships among the four wives?

4. Dinah is rich in "mothers." Discuss the differences or similarities in her relationship with each woman.

5. Childbearing and childbirth are central to The Red Tent. How do the fertility childbearing and birthing practices differ from contemporary life? How are they similar? How do they compare with your own experiences as a mother or father?

6. Discuss Jacob's role as a father. Does he treat Dinah differently from his sons? Does he feel differently about her? If so, how?

7. Discuss Dinah's twelve brothers. Discuss their relationships with each other, with Dinah, and with Jacob and his four wives. Are they a close family?

8. Female relationships figure largely in The Red Tent. Discuss the importance of Inna, Tabea, Werenro, and Meryt.

9. In the novel, Rebecca is presented as an Oracle. Goddesses are venerated along with gods. What do you think of this culture, in which the Feminine has not yet been totally divorced from the Divine? How does El, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, fit into this?

10. Dinah's point of view is often one of an outsider, an observer. What effect does this have on the narrative? What effect does this have on the reader?

11. The book travels from Haran (contemporary Iraq/Syria), through Canaan and into Shechem (Israel), and into Egypt. What strikes you about the cultural differences Dinah encounters vis-à-vis food, clothing, work, and male-female relationships.

12. In The Red Tent, we see Dinah grow from childhood to old age. Discuss how she changes and matures. What lessons does she learn from life? If you had to pick a single word to describe the sum of her life, what word would you choose? How would Dinah describe her own life experience?

About the Author:
Anita Diamant is a prize-winning journalist whose work has appeared regularly in the Boston Globe Magazine and Parenting magazine. She is the author of five books about contemporary Jewish practice: Choosing a Jewish Life, Bible Baby Names, The New Jewish Baby Book, The New Jewish Wedding, and Living a Jewish Life (with H. Cooper). She lives in West Newton, MA, with her husband and daughter, Emilia, to whom the book is dedicated.

Diamant says it was the relationship between Leah and Rachel that stimulated her thinking about The Red Tent. "The Biblical story that pits the two sisters against one another never sat right with me. The traditional view of Leah as the ugly and/or spiteful sister, and of Jacob as indifferent to her, seemed odd in light of the fact that the Bible gives them nine children together...As I re-read Genesis over the years, I settled on the story of Dinah, their daughter. The drama and her total silence (Dinah does not utter a single word in the Bible) cried out for explanation, and I decided to imagine one."

Aiding her work was "midrash," the ancient and still vital literary form, which means "search" or "investigation."

"Historically, the rabbis used this highly imaginative form of storytelling to make sense of the elliptical nature of the Bible-to explain, for example, why Cain killed Abel...The compressed stories and images in the Bible are rather like photographs. They don't tell us everything we want or need to know. Midrash is the story about what happened before and after the photographic flash."

She points out that "The Red Tent is not a translation but a work of fiction. Its perspective and focus-by and about the female characters-distinguishes it from the Biblical account in which women are usually peripheral and often totally silent. By giving Dinah a voice and by providing texture and content to the sketchy Biblical descriptions, my book is a radical departure from the historical text."

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 710 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 711 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Red Tent

    This novel follows the tale of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob barely mentioned in the Old Testament. In the Hebrew Bible, she is seen as a young girl who a handsome prince took advantage of, and that the following slaughter was the result of her family defending her honor.

    I went into this book solely expecting a rich, entertaining story and that's what I got. I never read the story in the Bible, so I didn't have any expectations in regard to being accurate.

    I learned much from this book and I could picture the vivid scenery. The way it was written was just so beautiful. Scenes that I would have otherwise found awkward were handled tenderly with grace. This family saga is a tribute to women and mothers everywhere, even those we have forgotten. I saw some reviews saying how this book treated men poorly and two-dimensionally, but I disagree. Dinah treated her male relatives with respect, and her later hatred of them was for personal reasons only- not just because they were men. The reason the men weren't as fleshed out as the women is simply because Dinah did not know them as well. She was surrounded by women, so that's what would have stuck with her.

    It seems the more impressed I am with a book, the less I have to say about it. Overall a beautiful, sad story about womanhood and family that I whole-heartedly recommend.

    20 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 30, 2010

    Pure Trash

    This book is nothing more than a disgusting attempt to write sex and debauchery into the Bible. The author debases Bible characters to gossipy, vile dolts unworthy of remembering. Laban is made out to be a slovenly drunk who wants nothing more than to fornicate with goats and sheep when he can't get to his own daughters. Rachel is described as a childlike idiot with no redeeming qualities other than her beauty. Even Jacob is described as horny, "leaning against a tree, his hands working his sex, until he slumped over in relief". I'm thoroughly disgusted with the entire book and would only recommend it for a nice, warm fire.

    13 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2008

    Not what I expected...

    For the most part, I hated this book. It is not biblically accurate and that is what I expected. I love to read about stories that everyone knows and loves from other perspectives like Wicked for example. Excellent book. However, the book doesn't stay true the actual story at all. The best parts are the scenes in Egypt which are completely made up. I do like the love story angle but the parts that we do know, the parts in the Bible, are completely off. She has, for lack of a better word, perverted the story of Jacob and Dinah. I was very disappointed.

    11 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2012

    Must read this gorgeous tale!

    As a counter-point to the reviewer who pointed out that this story does not follow the Bible version, might I remind the readers out there that the Bible was written by men. This is an historical fiction story imagined from the perspective of a woman who would not have had much of a voice in that time period. If you are looking for the word-for-word version of Dinah's story from the Bible...read the Bible. If you are looking for a gorgeously written saga from a female perspective that will hold your attention from beginning to end (and leave you wishing for a sequel) you must read this lovely book!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2002

    Not Blasphemous!

    Although Diamant's depiction of the life of Dinah may differ from the version given in the Bible, this does not make her tale invalid. The many details in the book make it clear that the time period and status of women has been researched to the very utmost...whereas during the time of the Bible, women were not given a voice...these things were ignored. It was a highly moving tale... and who is to say that Joseph did not become selfish, or that Dinah was not in love with Shalem? Would Dinah have been asked before her history was recorded so briefly? A moving, captivating read, that I would recommend not only to women but to anyone willing to keep an open mind.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2004

    Disappointed

    I'm sorry but I did not enjoy this book and could not finish it because it was biblically incorrect in many areas. I think true Christians who know the Bible and recognize it as the Word of God would not enjoy this book. I realize it is a 'fictional' work but if the author is going to refer to real people mentioned in the Bible, she should adhere to their 'real' beliefs -- most notably their belief in the one, true God, Jehovah -- The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca etc. did not worship pagan gods and idols and did not offer sacrifices to same; therefore, I did not enjoy this book and had no desire to finish the book after reading half way through.

    6 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    It's ok I guess

    I thought I would like the story line of this book better, but it's not as good as I thought it would be. It's a page turner in the sense that you want to know what comes next, but sometimes the theme of the story drags on and even though detail is needed (since the theme of the story is women and their menstrual cycle etc.) I still lose interest in the story. It's been an annoying read actually. I was thinking of recycling the book, and not even donating it since I don't really think it's that great of a book.

    5 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2012

    Extraordinary story

    The Red Tent is about Dinah, daughter of Jacob, who is one of the characters in the Bible. It tells the story of life growing up during Biblical times and the struggles for women. It starts of with Dinah living with her mothers and their responsibilities in the community. Their connection with each other helps them through the struggles they endure because they have to live with someone with different beliefs and on his own mission of shaping Christianity. We then follow Dinah to Shechem where she learns to become a midwife and falls in love with a prince, Shalem. After they are married, her brothers, Levi and Simon, slaughter her husband because they felt he had taken their sister without permission. Dinah is then left with Shalem's mother, Re-Nefer, and they run away together to Egypt to live with her brother. In Egypt, Dinah raises her son and remarries. Eventually, she is confronted with her past when she runs into Joseph, Jacob's son. But is able to go back to her life in Egypt, leaving her past behind her. Dinah's story is one of empowerment and overcoming of obstacles. What I really liked about this was that it didn't feel like a Biblical tale but an almost non-fiction documentary on the women's life in ancient times. I recommend this book because it provides insight on a more difficult time and how women have always been fighting for their freedom and a place in history.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2012

    WARNING!!!!!

    This is NOT for younger readers.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2010

    A LOPSIDED LOOK AT BIBLICAL TIMES

    While The Red Tent is very well written as far as prose goes, the feminist slant is overwhelming. None of the male Jewish characters are portrayed sympathetically; they are uniformly depicted as heartless and one-dimensional. Only the gentile male characters are written in a positive light, and even this is unidimensional so that they have no flaws.

    Diamant's intent to bring to life minor Biblical characters is laudable; her rigid angle that disparages the more prominent characters is gratuitous and off-putting.

    Rebecca Kohn's Seven Days to the Sea is a better bet.

    4 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2010

    Highly recommend reading this book.

    A friend commented on Facebook that she was reading this book on WeRead. Since I received a Nook for Mother's Day, I have been adding books I'd like to read to my Wish List. I immediately went to Barnes & Noble to see if it was in ebook form. I purchased it and found it to be an excellent book. It is a book that could be read in one sitting if a person were inclined to do that. The author is very graphic in describing the behavior of the men and the interactions between the men and women. The women of this day had a very hard life and suffered greatly in child birth and their daily living. It was very easy to fill great compassion for Dinah and all that she endured. Knowing the Bible story of Joseph and his brothers, I wondered if that aspect would be included in the story. It was, however not as told in the Bible. It is a work of fiction, I kept telling myself. However, I did not want the story to end. In the end, Dinah did find happiness in her life.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2010

    UNFORGETTABLE

    As soon as i read the first page of this book i just wanted more and more. This is a touching book with such realism you'll think you're with dinah the whole time through her adventure. Its a heart-wrenching/warming story that you will want to read again and again.(which i have done!)...you will not regret getting this book. 10000000% recommended!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Too much sex.

    Boring and way too much reference to the sex the characters engage in.

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    An interesting and highly absorbing take on a familiar Bible story.

    I enjoyed this book immensely. It is one of those books I would recommend to all women. If history and religion have something in common, it's that both have a tendency to overlook the lives of women. Who are usually only mentioned as the mother of this man, or the wife of that man. This book does a nice job of filling in the blanks with a fictional, yet realistic, story of the women behind one of the most famous stories in the Old Testament. An alternative version of events as seen through the eyes of Dinah. One of the most interesting aspects of this book, for me anyway, was how different this take on the story is from the one found in the Bible, though they describe the same events.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    Tini girls book club

    My book club read this book last month. New to us, but out for awhile. We loved it. Very interesting perspective. Followed scripture for the most part, but author did use poetic license with most characters. Did not care for her portrayal of Joseph in Egypt. That depiction was one of the few that I found to conflict with scripture. Otherwise loved the book and have recommended it to friends.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2004

    too much hype for what it is

    I didn't find this book very amusing at all! When it finally started to develop an interesting storyline, the main character's dreams got shot down and the tragedy continues. I think that people got too into the theme of feminism and forgot to look at the literary merit of the book. I did not enjoy this book at all...

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Couldn't put it down

    I stayed up way too late every night until I finished this book. Great story-telling and fantastic imagery made me feel like I was there. (I also think this red tent idea sounds fantastic!)

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Disguisting Book

    I am an open-minded person, but this book is just disguisting and not worth reading.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2011

    Amazing and powerful

    Anita wrote this as if she herself walked in the shoes of Dinah. Has a wonderfully Pagan feel to it and I, as well as my friends feel as if Anita and Dinah are our sisters

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    i disagree

    setting the fact aside that this is an fictional, embellishment of a biblical person this book was terriable. i had such high hopes that women would be represented in a fashion of who we are. it lacked depth. the book is about getting married, their menses,and having babies. the quality of the story was too simple. i thought this was supposed to be a book that shows us in our complexity and richness. i was wrong. hmmmm maybe it was written for teens? if u read for entertainment as well as enlightenment this book is not for you...

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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